The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Review

I tried The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning SoIution after a friend recommended it. I desperately needed to improve the appearance of my acne-active and scarred skin following an acute wave of eczema and acne. Two years ago, I put a copper intrauterine device (IUD) in, and almost immediately, my skin went on a rampage. Acne-like I had never experienced before (That story is here).

When I finally got the breakouts and waves of inflammation under control with medication, my skin was left uneven, blotchy, dry, and generally just looking awful and rough. A friend who swore by The Ordinary line suggested I try it, and I did.

Disclosure: Transparency lives here. Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

I used this toner for one full year in the daytime (I use Ole Hendrikson Glow OH Dark Spot Toner at night) and feel equipped to review the timer in full.

sacred acne skin
How I Started Out

How to Use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

1. Cleanse Your Skin

The toner is applied after you have cleansed the skin with your preferred cleanser. Using a cleanser from The Ordinary‘s line generally improves results. That’s usually the case with product lines, so you may want to try out one of their cleansers to see if that helps. Pat your skin dry.

2. Apply the Toning solution

Once your skin is clean, apply the toner to a cotton pad and gently apply the product. I have been known to place the product in my palm, press them together and then use them to press the product into my skin.

That’s not how the instructions say, but it works for me. Sometimes, I think there is a better result since using your hand warms up the product before it is applied.

3. Moisturise as Usual

Once you have applied your toner, you can move on to applying your moisturizer, sunblock, etc. you might want to pay attention to the products you are using because you definitely wouldn’t want your skin to react badly to the product and result in any irritation, burn or anything like that.

Other things to Things to note

The toning solution is best for PM (night) Use

Firstly, it’s an acid toner and it’s recommended that you avoid direct exposure to sunlight while wearing it, ergo PM use. Since I work from home, I have no issues using it in the mornings. It’s recommended for use once per day.

Avoid the Eyes in Application

My skin feels a little itchy when I use it more than once.

When using this product, you also want to give around your eyes a wide enough girth when applying this toner. I find it may burn and irritate the area, particularly the delicate skin at the outer corners of my eyes if used too closely there.

My Results Using The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Problems that using this toner resolved for me were:

  1. Acne Scarring Reduction and Uneven Skin Tone
  2. Moisture Level and Retention
  3. Reduction of visibility of Pores
  4. Reduced Breakouts
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Review

1. Acne Scarring and Uneven Skin Tone

The toning solution considerably reduced the dark spots and hyperpigmentation I was battling with after my episode. This was a significant source of consciousness for me. I hardly took any pictures and hated using enough makeup to cover my face. I was thrilled to get back to low to medium-coverage foundations and to be able to go without makeup again comfortably.

2. Moisture Level and Retention

As far as moisture goes, this is one of the best toners I’ve ever used. It leaves a slightly tacky residue after it is applied, but it fades. The residue is also not messy or uncomfortable, and I rarely feel the need to add other products after using it. (although I use sunflower oil as a moisturizer).

3. Reduced Pores Size

One huge issue I had following my breakout was suddenly huge, gaping pores. This toner has helped considerably with the appearance of my skin tone and pores, which had gotten much larger over my ordeal.

While my pores in some areas, like my nose and T-Zone, remain visible and prominent, the has been significant improvement.

4. Reduced Breakouts

I don’t experience many new pimples and black/whiteheads when using the toning solution. I do have hormonal pimples at specific points during my cycle, but I’ve noticed that when using this product, they do not leave a dark spot which sometimes used to happen.

The dark spots would sometimes take months to clear up on their own, but when using the toner, they are less likely to leave the dark spot, and when they do, it clears up within a few days or weeks.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% toning solution
My Skin Now

You May Also Like: The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution Review


The toner is under US$10 for a 240ml bottle of the product. It lasts for several (more than six) months, so I would say it is considered worth the price. The toner is much better priced on the Sephora website than on third-party selling websites, like, say, Amazon.

Final Thoughts

I love the toning solution. Consistent use brings about fast and very obvious results. It remains my favourite and has been inducted into my beauty routine as an old faithful favourite.

I have also been using one of the chemical peels from the same brand, but that’s another review for another day.

If you want a good toner that works wonders and is very nicely priced, this one is it.

Have you tried acid-based products? Specifically, have you tried The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution? What are your thoughts?

Xo, Shandean

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Shandean Reid

A heavily caffeinated, quintessential millennial wife and mom doing modern family life. I’m a communications professional following a five-year stint as a SAHM, switching roles with hubby, a physician and now WFHD. I also read and write books for fun! Stick around if I'm your kind of person!




  • Candi

    Before I started acne medication this toner helped me get quite a bit of the texture I had on my face under control. I’ve paused my use for now because of the prescribed medication but I’ll be back to using after this bout of therapy. I too would recommend this toner

    • Shandean

      Yes, it was definitely a lifesaver post acne meds! Thanks for reading.

  • Sue-Ann

    Nice 👏🏽

  • Eva

    Amazing article! I absolutely love glycolic acid 🙂

  • Chelsi

    This is great info. I just recently was recommended glycolic acid face wash and toner by my derm for my adult acne and rosacea. It has been a good change so far and I’m excited to see where this goes.

    • Thanks for reading, Chelsi. Glad to hear it. I hope you come back to share your thoughts in a few weeks!

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